The federal Geological Survey of Canada says that the total available geothermal resource in that country could produce a million times as much electricity as the entire country uses, or well more than enough to light up all of planet Earth many times over.

Iceland has already gone all-out in exploiting its own geothermal resources, with the end result that 99 percent of its electricity is produced domestically from renewables, in a combination of both hydro and geothermal power. So it's not like there's any question whether this resource can actually be exploited.

The main reason it hasn't been pursued more avidly is that exploration for geothermal resources is still in some ways a young industry. One expert told me, not long ago, that it was about where exploring for oil was about 50 years ago. Which means it's possible to spend millions of dollars drilling a well and still come up empty. Investment banks don't like those odds.

But when you consider that geothermal power is emissions-free, and provides consistent, baseload power 24/7, you'd think at least someone would step up to help bankroll it.

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Canada's fledgling, and in many ways frustrated, geothermal energy industry welcomed the federal report.

Craig Dunn, chief executive officer of Borealis GeoPower in Calgary, said "people often look at us like we're crazy" when trying to promote Canada's "phenomenal" geothermal resource. "Well, now we can now point to this report by a team of very reputable people," Dunn said.

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